Music Publishing 101: How to Understand Publishing, Copyrighting, and Royalties

Music publishing can be a confusing and overwhelming process for many songwriters, especially those who are just starting out in the industry.

From copyright laws to royalty collections, there are a multitude of questions that can arise when it comes to getting your music out into the world.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the most common music publishing questions and provide some answers and guidance to help you navigate the world of music publishing.

What is music publishing?

Music publishing refers to the process of making a song available to the public.

This includes getting the song played on the radio, streaming platforms, and other outlets, as well as licensing the song for use in films, television shows, and commercials.

Music publishing also includes the process of collecting and distributing royalties, which are payments made to songwriters and music publishers when their songs are used.

How do I copyright my music?

In order to copyright your music, you must first create a tangible form of the work, such as recording the song or writing out the lyrics and music.

Once you have a tangible form of the work, you can register the copyright by filling out a form and paying a fee to the U.S. Copyright Office.

It’s important to note that your music is automatically copyrighted as soon as it is fixed in a tangible form, but registering the copyright can provide additional legal protections and make it easier to defend your rights if someone infringes on your copyright.

How do I get my music on streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music?

To get your music on streaming platforms, you’ll need to work with a distributor.

A distributor is a company that helps get your music on various platforms and collects royalties on your behalf.

There are many distributors to choose from, each with their own pros and cons.

Some popular options include CD Baby, TuneCore, and DistroKid. It’s important to do your research and find a distributor that best fits your needs and budget.

How do I get my music played on the radio?

Getting your music played on the radio can be a challenging task, especially for independent artists.

One option is to work with a radio promoter, who can help get your music in front of radio stations and DJs. You can also try reaching out to radio stations and DJs directly, either through email or by sending a physical copy of your music.

Keep in mind that radio stations and DJs receive a lot of submissions, so it’s important to stand out and make a strong pitch for why your music should be played.

How do I license my music for use in films, television shows, and commercials?

To license your music for use in films, television shows, and commercials, you’ll need to work with a music licensing company or directly with the production company or advertiser.

Music licensing companies specialize in placing music in various media and can help you get your music in front of the right people.

You can also try reaching out to production companies and advertisers directly to pitch your music for use in their projects. Keep in mind that music licensing can be a competitive field, so it’s important to have a strong portfolio and be proactive in getting your music out there.

What types of royalties are available for my music?

Royalties are payments made to songwriters and music publishers when their music is used.

There are several types of royalties, including mechanical royalties, performance royalties, and sync royalties. Mechanical royalties are paid when a song is reproduced on a physical or digital format, such as when a song is downloaded or streamed.

Performance royalties are paid when a song is performed publicly, such as when it’s played on the radio or in a live venue. Sync royalties are paid when a song is used in a film, television show, advertisement, video game, or any other type of media.

Need Help?

At, we understand that navigating the world of music publishing can be confusing and overwhelming, which is why we offer a range of services and resources to help songwriters succeed.

Our team of experienced professionals is here to guide you through the publishing process, from copyright registration to royalty collection.

We also offer BDT Publishing services to help you get your songs out into the world, and our live publisher Q&A webinars are a great way to get personalized help and advice from our experts.

So if you have any questions or need support with your music publishing journey, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at We’re here to help you succeed and get your music heard!

There’s a disconnect between the way songwriters and performers create music. We’ve spent our entire lives in the music industry and have seen firsthand how difficult it is to pitch that song you’re so proud of AND we’ve seen how hard it can be to find great songs for that upcoming project. So, was created to help change the way we write, create, and record music together forever.

It all starts with a great demo. Once we record your radio-ready demo, we’ll have a conversation with you about the next steps to achieve your goals as a songwriter.

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